The Under 17 and Open teams brought home the State Netball League Championship trophies after thrilling grand finals in Churchill on Friday, March 27. The Gippsland Open team will go on to play another conference winner at Hisense Arena on Sunday, April 19 before the Melbourne Vixens v Steel game.
GIPPSLAND League displayed its dominance in the Eastern Region State Netball League in last week’s grand finals.
15 and Under
The 15 and Under grand final saw Gippsland League line up against the undefeated East Gippsland.
With undoubtedly the best netball talent on display, East had a lead of four goals for most of the game but Gippsland was determined to fight back.
Both teams went into the last quarter putting it all on the line with the coaches reminding them to steady and play smart.
Gippsland pegged East back to one goal and the crowd was preparing for extra time as Gippsland lined up for the shot, unfortunately not able to sink it; East Gippsland rebounded the ball keeping it safe and secure as the final seconds ticked down.
A proud East Gippsland team took the premiership for the second season in a thrilling 36-35 win.
17 and Under
In the 17 and Under Division Gippsland took their rightful place in the grand final looking to keep their unbeaten record intact as they took on East Gippsland.
Gippsland’s goal shooter Daisy Hill was given some unwanted attention from East’s defenders but withstood the pressure with ease.
At the other end East’s goal attack Emmagyn Williams was on fire as she executed the perfect high shot scoring goal after goal.
Unfortunately for East though a lapse in concentration in the second quarter found them down by a margin of three goals at half time.
East commenced their third quarter the same way they finished their second with their minds not on the game seeing Gippsland build a margin of nine goals as they went into the final quarter.
East’s efforts to shut down the dominance of Gippsland was gallant however they were unable to sustain the pressure.
Gippsland eventually crowned premiers in an emphatic win 45-33.
Gippsland’s goal shooter Daisy Hill was named as Most Valuable Player.
In the Open Division, Morwell Indoor Navy was looking to turn the tables on Gippsland in their previous encounters which Gippsland League had won convincingly.
With Morwell unable to penetrate the ball through to their goalers as Gippsland’s defence combination of Ally Petrou and Caitlan Ponton continued to own their space in the circle.
Gippsland’s goalers remained strong and accurate as Morwell’s defenders were slow off the mark and not reading their opponents moves.
Gippsland’s captain Courtney Blair worked hard in the centre court as well as the goals and was instrumental in assists for goaling partner and former State Team Representative Ramayer Gourley.
Morwell struggled to match the dominance of Gippsland’s wing attack and former Australian Schoolgirl Representative Taylah Bott; Bott was awarded with Most Valuable Player of the match.
With their eyes focused only on the prize Gippsland came out of the blocks firing and never looked back taking the premiership easily from Morwell Indoor Navy 54-41.
Both premiership teams will now take their place in the Champions Challenge on Sunday, April 19 at the State Netball Hockey Centre and Hisense Arena where Gippsland League’s Open Division will play off against Ballarat Football Netball League in a curtain raiser to the Melbourne Vixens versus Steel match.
All star teams
Gippsland’s Jayde Travers was named Hot Shot for the Open Division and Pakenham’s Alicia Scott was the 17 and Under Hot Shot award winner.
There was a tie for the 17 and Under Most Valuable Player for the season between East Gippsland’s Emmagyn Williams and Pakenham’s Ashleigh Barnett.
The Open Division saw Gippsland’s Ramayer Gourley awarded with the honour.
The All Star Teams were also named.
The 17 and Under goal end made up of Emmagyn Williams (East Gippsland), Daisy Hill (Gippsland), Laura Jones (Sale) and Alicia Scott (Pakenham), mid court players named were Ashleigh Barnett (Pakenham), Paige Biddle and Ella Henderson (Gippsland) and Alana Hanegraaf (Alberton) and the defenders which included five players due to a tie were, Maggie Tatterson, Layla Simmons (Sale), Taylah Ferguson and Shannon Freeman (Gippsland) and Hayley Messen (Pakenham).
The Open Division All Star Team goalers named were Ramayer Gourley and Courtney Blair (Gippsland), Kim Hillberg (Alberton) and Claire Allison (Morwell Indoor Navy) strongly supported in the mid court by Stacey O’Brien (Gippsland), Kate Sidebottom (Alberton) and Rachel Allison and Jacklyn Hiriaki (Morwell Indoor Navy) with the defenders including the all-conquering Christie Hillberg (Alberton) and Courtney Garth and Lexi Bowe (Morwell Indoor Navy).